Government of New Brunswick

The composition of the Human Rights Commission is twofold: 1. Commission members, comprising of the Chairperson and board members, who are representatives of the public and are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor; and 2. Staff of the Commission, who are civil servants responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Commission.

Commission staff receive, mediate, and investigate complaints of discrimination, and also conduct the Commission’s education, advocacy, and outreach functions. Staff prepare reports on human rights complaints and present them at the Commission’s board meetings, which are held several times a year. 

The Commission’s board is not like a court or tribunal that can conduct hearings of the discrimination complaints that come before it. However, the board has powers to determine, based on the staff’s recommendations, if a complaint should be dismissed or should be referred for a formal hearing before the Labour and Employment Board, an independent tribunal with powers to award monetary and other damages.

Members of the Commission are appointed through an open, merit-based competitive process. Vacancies of member appointments are announced on this website and the Agencies, Boards and Commissions page.


Phylomène Zangio, Chair


Phylomène Zangio, better known as Mama Phylomène, is an exceptional woman whose life journey is marked by unwavering commitment to her community and a relentless determination to improve the living conditions of people of African descent in New Brunswick and Canada.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Phylomène was born into a polygamous family with no fewer than 19 children. From a young age, she had to learn how to position herself within her large family to pursue her future aspirations. Her quest for a better future led her to Canada in the late '80s, where she pursued her education. At the University of Moncton, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in commerce, as well as a graduate degree in information technology. However, her life took a turn when Mama Phylomène learned that she was going to become a mother while still in school. This news triggered deep concern for the future of her child and future generations, compelling her to wholeheartedly engage in the fight to improve the situation for international students and Black individuals in New Brunswick.

As a Black person in New Brunswick, Phylomène understood that her identity was often misunderstood. This motivated her to become a socio-educational facilitator with the goal of raising awareness among the New Brunswick public, dispelling prejudices, and promoting positive dialogue within the Black community. Through her community engagements, Mama Phylomène has been a persistent and enlightened voice for Black individuals, speaking at conferences, symposiums, roundtable discussions, and meetings to voice their concerns on various issues.

Among her notable achievements, Phylomène proposed a motion at the Acadian Convention in 2014, calling for recognition of the contributions of Blacks in Acadia during the 2019 World Acadian Congress. She also played a key role in promoting the fight against racism and discrimination by encouraging the cities of Moncton, Dieppe, and Beaurivage to join the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination. These recommendations were unanimously adopted in 2015, 2017, and 2023, respectively.

In July 2022, Phylomène participated in the 3rd Pan-Canadian Summit of Black Communities in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she had the honor of delivering the Halifax Declaration alongside prominent figures such as Lynn Jones, the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, El Jones, and Senator Wanda Bernard, in the presence of senior representatives from the United Nations. This summit promoted the goals of the International Decade for People of African Descent proclaimed by the UN.

Phylomène continued to shine on the international stage, delivering a speech at the 84th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Geneva, Switzerland, in February 2023, and speaking at the fifteenth session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues, also in Geneva, in December 2022.

Her exceptional leadership has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Canada Top 100 Black Women by Canada International Black Women Excellence in 2022, the Black Excellence Award for leadership and influence in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Top 25 Immigrants in the Maritimes award in 2018. In 2022, she was honored as a Distinguished Graduate of the Faculty of Administration at the University of Moncton and received the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal from the Government of New Brunswick for her community engagement. In 2023, thanks to her efforts, the government of New Brunswick unanimously adopted a motion for the official recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent.

In addition to her leadership activities, Phylomène has devoted many years to supporting visible minorities in their struggle to improve the living conditions of their children. She was the first co-chair of the New Brunswick Women's Council and the founder of the Provincial Council of People of African Descent of New Brunswick (CPPAANB). She has also served on numerous boards, including the Feminist Alliance of New Brunswick, the Acadian Society of New Brunswick, the Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women, the Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton (MAGMA), and the Multicultural Association of the Chaleur Region (AMRC). Phylomène has been a judge in the annual French Oratory Contest organized by Canadian Parents for French, vice-president of the Association of Employees of the University of Moncton, and contributed to the creation of the French-speaking Immigrant Welcome and Support Center of Southeastern New Brunswick (CAFI). She has also been actively involved in various advisory committees related to mental health, poverty, social inclusion, and the revision of social studies programs for the 4th, 5th, and 6th sectors of French-speaking schools (People of African Descent perspective). She was also active in the parent support committees in Moncton’s Champlain, Mascaret and Odyssée schools.

With over 25 years of administrative management experience, Phylomène has held positions of responsibility, including as a project coordinator in editorial work at the University of Montreal Review and as the executive director of community adult learning centers. Currently, she holds the position of manager at the Vitalité Health Network, becoming the first Black woman to sit on the judiciary council and be appointed as the chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for a two-year term, effective June 16, 2023.

Phylomène Zangio is a true icon of community leadership.

Biographical note as of November 10, 2023.


Elder Jean Bartibogue is a Grandmother from Esgenoôpetitj and a Clan Mother of the Jagej (Lobster) Clan who currently serves her people as the Kcicihtuwinut (Knowledge Carrier-in-Residence) at the University of New Brunswick in the Egpahak district of Wolastokuk. Jean has spent nearly four decades immersing herself in traditional wisdom and in knowledge of ceremonies. She has worked with residential school survivors as a case manager; advocated for Aboriginal Women Against Violence with the Women's Equality Committee Advisory; and held an advisory position with the Parole Board of Canada. She has also worked as a Cultural Advisor and Project Manager for NBCC, Miramichi High School, and Mawlugutineg Mental Health Services, an organization that provides compassionate mental health supports in Mikmag communities.

Presently, Jean is a member of the Clan Mothers Council, one of the Three Council Fires of the Land Peace Foundation, and she assists Wabanaki communities and young adults with land-based healing, providing counselling, cultural support, and guidance to individuals and groups. Bio up-to-date as of March 15, 2024.


Randy Dickinson is a long-time disability and human rights advocate as a lifelong resident of New Brunswick. He served in various professional positions during his career such as Director of Camping and Community Relations and then Executive Director of the Canadian Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled now known as Easter Seals NB. Randy then served for many years as the first Executive Director of the Premier’s Council on Disabilities. During this period, he was seconded to act as the Executive Director of the Premier’s Council on Health Strategy and also served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association before returning as the Executive Director of the Premier’s Council on Disabilities until his retirement.

For his community service, Randy and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1999 and was named as a Member of the Order of New Brunswick in 2022. He has also received various other public recognitions for his professional and volunteer efforts on behalf of persons with disabilities.

Randy served as the Chairperson of the Commission from 2010-2015 and is an active member of the Age-Friendly Community Advisory Committee for the City of Fredericton; Vice-President of the John Wood Foundation; Co-Chair of N.B. Disability Awareness Week; and was previously appointed to a term as the Chairperson of the Premier’s Council on Disabilities.

Randy lives in Fredericton with his wife Karen who is an occupational therapist. Biographical note as of August 15, 2022.


Shelley Dumouchel was called to the New Brunswick Bar in 1994 after obtaining her Law Degree and Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of New Brunswick.

From 1994 until 2008, she worked as an associate lawyer in both Oromocto and Fredericton gaining significant experience in the areas of Family Law, Insurance Law, Personal Injury, Real Estate and Wills and Estates. From 2008 until 2011, Shelley was Senior Legal Counsel for the Office of the Public Trustee, Province of New Brunswick. In 2011, Shelley returned to private practice and has had her own law firm since this date.

A native of Perth- Andover, NB, Shelley lives with her family in Fredericton.  In addition to raising a family and practicing law, Shelley is one of the founders of the Oromocto Legal Clinic, an alternate Chairperson for the Mental Health Review Board,  an adjudicator under the Liquor Control Act and a board member for the New Brunswick Human rights Commission. Bio up-to-date as of March 25, 2020.


Elizabeth Forestell grew up in Saint John New Brunswick and graduated from University of New Brunswick. In her 40-year career in non profit management, Elizabeth worked in the areas of mental health, youth justice, criminal justice, violence against women, refugee services and a wide range of community services, retiring in 2020 as President and CEO of The Neighbourhood Group in Toronto.

Elizabeth is happily back in her hometown of Saint John. Biographical note as of August 15, 2022.


Steve has been a professional acupuncturist since 1985 and is president of the New Brunswick Chapter of the Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada (CMAAC-NB). He has served, and continues to serve, on numerous boards on a volunteer basis, including as treasurer of the Restigouche region’s five food banks (RCVAA), vice-president of the Restigouche community radio station, Sommet FM 103.9, and board member of the New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation. In 2023, Steve completed a second six-year term on the CCNB Board of Governors. A former columnist at the L’Acadie Nouvelle newspaper, Steve is the author of two books published by Les Éditions de la Francophonie. He is also a member of the Luxor Shriners of New Brunswick.  Bio up-to-date as of March 15, 2024.


Dr. Shannonbrooke Murphy holds a BA (Hons) in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Toronto, an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Galway, and a PhD in Law from Middlesex University. She relocated from Ireland to New Brunswick in 2019 to take up a position as Endowed Chair in Human Rights and Assistant Professor in the Human Rights Department at St. Thomas University, where she also serves on the faculty trade union executive.

In Ireland, she worked for more than a decade as a legislative, policy, and political advisor to elected representatives at all institutional levels on matters of equality and human rights protections in domestic law, constitutional law, EU law, and under international treaty obligations including the Good Friday Agreement. In this brief, she worked on a wide array of issues such as the human rights to healthcare and housing, police accountability and oversight mechanisms for human rights compliance, redress of historical systemic human rights violations related to colonization and religious institutions, as well as the equality rights of ethnic minorities, women’s rights, children’s rights, the rights of people with disabilities, LGBTI rights, workers’ rights, and the rights of economically marginalized individuals and groups.

She lives in Nashwaaksis (Fredericton Northside) and would like to improve her French and learn Wolastoqey. She is grateful to have been welcomed in New Brunswick and considers it an honour to serve its peoples. Bio up-to-date as of March 9, 2023.


Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprien has lived in Moncton for over 20 years. He has a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Université de Moncton.

He has taught at the Dieppe campus of the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and is the CEO of Okana-Solutions Marketing (O.-S.M.), a consulting firm founded in 2000 that has its head office in Moncton. In 2002, the company conducted the first study on the settlement and integration of Francophone immigrants in the province.

Cyprien was president of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party (NB NDP) from 2019 to 2022 and spent seven years (2016 to 2023) as a member of the board of directors of House of Nazareth in Moncton. Before that, he was president of the Intercultural Heritage Association of Greater Moncton from 2010 to 2013, during which time he organized two exploratory visits to Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, and to Charlottetown and Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, to discover Acadian and Canadian history. One of the visits was for Black youth and the other for Black women and children.

He also stays active, walking an average of 45 minutes each day. He learns by reading books and articles on various topics, including but not limited to politics, law, the economic and social inclusion of immigrants, cultural diversity, leadership, public speaking, religion and organizational management.

He is a proud supporter of human rights and has always endeavoured to foster an even more egalitarian New Brunswick society. He is eager to devote himself wholly to serving New Brunswick and improving its prosperity, diversifying its cultural riches and ensuring the dignity and rights of its young people, regardless of their origin, are protected and respected.

Biographical note as of October 8, 2023.


With over 15 years working in various departments within the Federal Public Service, Rachel has had the opportunity to work in many people focused and support spaces such as operations, workplace wellness, psychological safety, critical incident management, conflict management, and Ombuds services.

Rachel is a lifelong learner with a particular interest in post-traumatic growth, psychological safety for trauma exposed professionals, and human rights. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences and Humanities and is currently a Master of Public Administration candidate at the Royal Military College of Canada. Rachel also holds certificates in Conflict Management, Mediation, Ombuds Services, and Trauma Informed Coaching.

Rachel volunteers extensively in the humanitarian space, supporting and serving global communities before, during, and after disasters and crises. She also volunteers with the developing Community and Youth Restorative Justice Services Program with the Province of New Brunswick and her municipal Emergency Measures Organization.

Rachel lives in Grand Bay Westfield with her husband Sheldon. In their spare time they enjoy the outdoors and travelling. Bio up-to-date as of March 15, 2024.